Spatial Stories: An exploration of young people’s everyday experience of public space was a collaborative project which mapped out teenager’s experience of the urban public realm. Six young people aged 16 and 17 participated in the project, which was developed by Dorothy Smith and researcher Jackie Bourke.
Using photography, creative mapping techniques, individual drawing, collaborative drawing and creative writing, the fleeting moments and subtle details that shape their urban experience were captured. Discussions explored how the participants feel they are perceived and and how they feel in public. These discussions revealed experiences which ranged from feelings of vulnerability and alienation to a deeply embodied sense of place and belonging. They expressed and confronted their teenage experience creating an intervention with posters mounted on lampposts. These posters displayed slogans such as ‘Teenagers Welcome’, ‘Please Loiter Here’, and ‘You are not Suspicious’ – a response to negative experiences the young people have had.
Through Spatial Stories the young people used creative means to map out their innate playfulness, acute awareness of architectural detail, of nature, of environmental neglect, and the important role of family and friends in their everyday lives. Through their work they reveal a complex experience of vulnerability, alienation and a sense of belonging in their everyday urban worlds.
Funded by the Arts Council through the Engaging with Architecture Scheme